Giants starter Madison Bumgarner has firmly established himself as one of the best-hitting pitchers in baseball. He came into Saturday’s start against the Athletics with eight career home runs, hitting two of them in 2012, four last season, and two this season.
He tacked on and helped his own cause on Saturday, drilling a solo home run to left field off of Chris Bassitt, giving the Giants an early 1-0 lead. Strangely enough, pitchers hitting at least three homers in consecutive seasons has happened before recently, thanks to Cubs pitcher Travis Wood, who accomplished the feat in 2013-14. Carlos Zambrano also did it for the Cubs in 2008-09. Johnny Antonelli was the last Giant, and he did it in three consecutive seasons between 1955-57.
Watch the blast:
Bumgarner also did a terrific job on the mound, as per usual. He held the A’s to one run over seven innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out seven. He now has a 3.16 ERA with a 131/26 K/BB ratio over 131 innings.
Odubel Herrera had played a grand total of 13 games in the outfield as a member of the Texas Rangers’ minor league system through the 2014 season. The Phillies selected him in the Rule 5 draft and immediately converted him from his trade as a second baseman to a center fielder during spring training.
To say Herrera’s time in center has been an adventure would be to completely under-sell it. It has been at once both entertaining and disastrous. He doesn’t react well to balls off the bat and takes inefficient, circuitous routes. That was on full display Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field as Cole Hamels no-hit the Cubs in what very well may have been his final start as a member of the Phillies.
Herrera played a key role in preserving Hamels’ no-hitter twice. The first came on the second out of the eighth inning, when Herrera used his speed to corral a well-struck David Ross fly ball on the warning track in left-center.
The second came on the final out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Kris Bryant ripped a 3-2 Hamels curve to straightaway center field. Herrera ranged back to the warning track, overrunning the fly ball slightly. He attempted to find the ball in the sunlit sky, fell forward, and snagged the ball just before it could make contact with the ground, preserving Hamels’ no-hitter. Watch:
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz caught his fourth no-hitter on Saturday when Cole Hamels dominated the Cubs at Wrigley Field. That ties him with former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek for the major league record in no-hitters caught, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.
- May 29, 2010: Roy Halladay vs. Florida Marlins (1-0)
- October 6, 2010: Roy Halladay vs. Cincinnati Reds in NLDS Game 1 (4-0)
- September 1, 2014: Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, Jonathan Papelbon vs. Atlanta Braves (7-0)
- July 25, 2015: Cole Hamels vs. Chicago Cubs (5-0)
Varitek caught Hideo Nomo against the Orioles in 2001, Derek Lowe against the Devil Rays in 2002, Clay Buchholz against the Orioles in 2007, and Jon Lester against the Royals in 2008.
Ruiz, 36, has drawn considerable praise for his ability to handle a pitching staff and call a game. He famously developed a strong bond with Halladay during their four years as teammates, as Halladay routinely praised Ruiz effusively. Halladay also made this hilarious commercial for the MLB 2K11 video game:
Ruiz has had a tough 2015 otherwise, however, putting together a .223/.312/.301 triple-slash line with two home runs and 16 RBI in 236 plate appearances. He also has not been as good defensively as he has been in the past.